Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Help, Help! I'm Being Repressed!

While I was chucking junk mail into the recycle bin today, I heard what sounded like a hawk's scream. Despite the fact that for the past three years, I've lived in the vicinity of at least one Red-tailed hawk, and once managed to get within three yards of a bird, I'd never heard one actually vocalize live, so I didn't really know what one sounded like. (Or, to be more precise, I didn't know if the sound effect that I'd come to associate with hawks was the real deal.)

But when I looked up, sure enough, pretty much right over my head was a Red-tailed hawk. The poor thing was being mobbed by a half-dozen crows, with more on the way, and was clearly less than pleased with this turn of events. It's too bad the hawks don't hunt in pairs or groups. A back-up hawk could have easily picked off a crow for their dinner.

It was an interesting contest to watch, and even more interesting to listen to. While the scream of a hawk is one of the more clich├ęd sound effects out there, there's nothing quite like hearing the real thing, especially from only 30 or so feet away. The hawk was pretty adamant about minding its own business, which seemed to be looking for something on the ground. There are rabbits in the greenbelt, and I'm sure the hawk would have liked to catch one. Of course, as far as the crows were concerned, they, or any chicks they may have had were the hawk's business, and so they came out as a team to protect themselves. (Which sometimes works out badly for the crows. I saw a group of them mobbing a pair of bald eagles not long ago. Bald eagles, it turns out, don't seem to eat crow, even when they bat one out of the sky.)

This episode ended like they usually do, with the hawk gliding off to find a safe perch, and the the crows abruptly breaking off the chase to race back to wherever it was they wanted to keep the hawk away from. But all of the players will be back on stage tomorrow.

No comments: